The Günter Wand Edition continues with this coupling of Stravinsky's Suite from L'Oiseau de Feu and Suite from Pulcinella with Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto, with soloist Edith Peinemann, recorded in 1978, 1981, and 1983 with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. For fans of the venerable German conductor's recordings of Beethoven, Brahms, and especially Bruckner, the opportunity to hear what Wand would do with such radically different repertoire will prove irresistible.
They might have wished they'd resisted. Wand may be a latter-day master of the canonical works of German Romanticism, but he's out of his element in these canonical works of Russian modernism. Wand's L'Oiseau de Feu is clear, but its colors sound wrong and its rhythms are awkward. His Pulcinella Suite is clean, but its melodies sound odd and its tempos are gawky. His accompaniment to Edith Peinemann's concerto is supportive, but it lacks sensitivity to the soloist and sympathy for the music. This 2004 remastering of the original radio broadcasts is raw but serviceable. Wand's fans will want to hear these performances, but for everyone else, there are dozens of better recordings of all three works.